Could This Data Help You Put Your Restaurant Patron's Mobile Obsession To Use?

November 2015

Arguably the #1 technology that's being used by customers inside your bars and restaurants today? The mobile phone. This makes having a restaurant mobile marketing strategy even more important. It's one of the best opportunities to engage your customers in a place that's familiar to them but the trick is to figure out exactly how they want to interact with your brand via their mobile devices. In a recent study we did with Technomic, we asked consumers this question. Just about half of consumers said that the ability to use their phone to influence the restaurant's music was either important or very important. Not surprisingly, that stat climbs to 70% among millennials and Gen Zers. Further, the entertainment value of using a mobile phone to influence a restaurant's music proved even more important than other popular activities, like using a phone to access a restaurant's social media channels or share photos with friends.

Many restaurant-goers (particularly young adults) may simply pull out their smartphone and immerse themselves in the information they find online--something that's almost become cliche in today's dining world. 43% of consumers said that they use their mobile phone to entertain themselves when dining out. That figure jumps to 66% among Millenials. About a fifth of respondents (19%) said that they used their mobile phone to interact with the restaurant or bar, typically via the restaurant's custom app.

How do you gain the lion-share of mobile time with your customers in this day and age? Here are the top 3 results from our survey that will inform your restaurant mobile marketing strategy:

data that informs your restaurant marketing strategy

You'll see that we measured data from 4 different demographics, Gen Z, Millenials, Gen X and Baby Boomers. Using this segmented data, you can understand where to target your restaurant mobile marketing strategy.

Across the board, millenials seem to have the highest preference for mobile phone usage within each category. Music was the most important, followed by sharing photos of the restaurant experience and ending with using their phone's to connect with restaurant's social accounts. 

Now that we know how your customers want to use their devices, let's talk about how you can use that information to make it extremely easy for them to interact with your brand at the same time.

1. Using Your Phone to Choose Music: Now you can make the music in your bar or restaurant even more compelling. Today's consumer facing background music companies allow you to give your patrons a say in what is playing over the speakers. Rockbot's solution allows you to get more out of other media consumption channels as well by incorporating your TV screens and social channels. For consumers, this added level of customization is a pleasant surprise and something that will have them engaging with your brand, in a unique way, throughout their experience.

2. Engaging With The Brands Social Channels: Although only 39% of overall restaurant consumers chose interacting with social channels as very important in engaging them via their mobile device, that number increases to 58% with millenials. There are a few ways you can get more traction on your social channels: 

Incentivize customers to follow or check-in, in exchange for a free dessert, a side or something that motivates them to complete your desired action.

Use a third party app that has social sharing capabilities integrated, making it easy for customers to connect with you via an app they are familiar with.

Make your social pages useful. This may sound like a no brainer, but so many restaurants and bars aren't using these pages to their potential. Some ideas are posting daily specials, posting a family feud type question to get your trivia attendees more involved or posting a rotation of nightly happy hour deals. Anything that can get customers curious and coming back on a regular basis but that's also in line with something you already do to prevent more work.

3. The ability to use my phone to share photos of my restaurant experience: With photo-sharing apps like instagram, facebook, yelp, food-spotter etc., sharing your experience has never been easier. How do you encourage more of this? We have a few ideas for you:

Figure out the most popular food-based hashtags in your city on Instagram and create table tents that encourage your restaurant consumers to post their food pictures including those specific hashtags. Food and restaurant hashtags are searched often by food bloggers, out of state visitors and people just looking for a new delicious meal to try! For example, San Francisco's most popular food-based hashtag is #sfeats. It has over 54,000 posts and is a great way to reach a wider audience.

Have an instagram contest! Define your own rules but make sure you include tagging your location and adding a popular hashtag to get the most visibility. This plays into your customers enjoyment of sharing photos of their experiences with their friends while also growing your social reach.

It is all too common to see mobile phones in the hands of your customers now. Win some of that attention back by using this data to create opportunities for them to engage with your brand. To learn more about how consumers want to be entertained in your restaurants/bars beyond mobile phones, click the link below!

Customer Engagement in Restaurants


Topics: Restaurant Marketing

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